Like a group of guys boasting over the size of their…err paychecks, peripheral manufacturers seem to be under the impression that bigger, Bigger, BIGGER is always better. Case in point: Steelseries’ soon-to-be-released Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse, the latest recipient of the ‘Highest DPI in the World’ title, with an absurd 11,400 maximum DPI. To put that in perspective, it’s about as overkill as using your quad-core, overclocked, Core i7 processor to check email.
Big, needlessly high numbers aside, the Sensei is actually a really nice mouse. It retains the ambidextrous form factor of Steelseries’ Xai Laser mouse – which in turn borrowed heavily from the legendary Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical 1.1. The shape is simple and elegant, with large button surfaces and well positioned side buttons (two on each side), suitable for all grip styles, and without any of that aggro-ergonomic design philosophy you find elsewhere.
While Steelseries is usually known for their understated mono-tone aesthetic, the Sensei got the 'Pimp Your Mouse' treatment, with a slick metallic coating and three zones of programmable lighting (scroll wheel, DPI indicator and logo). Many will like it, but personally we preferred the muted stealth black look of previous models.
A new 32-bit ARM processor has been installed (Steelseries points out that it’s as powerful as a 1994 Pentium CPU) which allows for increased sensitivity, collating and processing images, as well as enhanced tracking even at high DPI. Bumping the DPI up, we found cursor movement to remain smooth, even at the maximum 11,400, and there was no sign of any of the jerky movements that commonly plague high DPI users.
Up to five profiles can be stored in its onboard memory, with each profile accessed and configured through an LCD menu found on the base of the mouse. On the fly DPI switching can be done via a button on top. As a nice bonus, you can upload your own bitmap image (say your team logo) to be displayed on the LCD menu home screen.
The Sensei boasts some nice technical improvements over the Xai - and with Steelseries’ target market being pro gamers, we appreciate their ongoing efforts to provide the best tools possible. However,for the majority of gamers, a lot of those features just won't be needed (or even used at all). Still, if you’re not put off by the S$169 price tag, you would be hard pressed to find a better performing mouse out there - both in features and in capabilities.